A few candidates have asked me recently about what they should wear to their consulting interviews so I thought it might be helpful to write something on this topic.
The answer is simple- if you're applying to a top tier consultancy you should dress as smartly as is possible for interviews. Men should wear a suit and tie. Women should wear the female equivalent (i.e., a suit or some other equally smart business wear).
The consulting interview process is thorough and to get a job at a top consulting firm you'll probably need to go through 4 or 5 interviews across multiple rounds.
Most of these interviews will involve both a case study and a series of questions about you and your achievements and motivations (i.e., personal 'fit'). When I was interviewing candidates at McKinsey in London, I spent about 25 to 30 minutes on each part.
It's important to note that the case study and the personal 'fit' part of your interviews are equally important. To pass an interview, you'll need to meet the (high!) bar on both parts. I've been in plenty of decision meetings where a candidate has aced a case but flunked the personal fit part of an interview- these candidates were always rejected.
So, what can you do to make sure that you sail through your fit interviews? My top 5 tips are below:
The management consulting recruiting process is tough and very thorough with ~200 candidates competing for each place at some firms.
I've written previously about the different stages of the process and there's a lot of information available on what candidates can expect. However, there's much less information out there on what happens 'behind the scenes' and how consulting firms come to their decisions on who to hire.
Here I outline the three crucial behind-the-scenes stages of the recruiting process that you should know about. The below is based on my experience at McKinsey in London- other companies or even offices may have different processes but I'd bet that they're all pretty similar.
I'm a ex-McKinsey London EM who recently left the Firm